Researchers at the University of Michigan conducted their annual Monitoring the Future survey. This is a national survey. In some areas, drug use is down, but marijuana use is on the rise. This spells lower test scores along with cognitive and neural impairment possibly permanently. It doesn't help that the perceived risks of marijuana abuse has dropped while the potency of the drug has dramatically increased.
According to reports almost 46,000 students all across the United States were surveyed to show an increase in marijuana use. The year 2012 showed that 6.5% of high school students were abusing pot for self-medication purposes on a daily basis. 36% said they had smoked pot at least once within the past year.
The growing perception is that marijuana is harmless, that it's an herb and that it's organic, so what could the harm be? Only 41% of 8th graders believe use of marijuana to be harmful. As they get older and supposedly smarter, more of them see less risk in smoking marijuana. While 20% of high school students think marijuana is harmful.
Dumb And Dumber
The fact of the matter is that prolonged marijuana use between the ages of 13 and 38, per a survey from the National Institute of Health, shows an average drop of eight IQ points for those who met criteria of cannabis dependence. This is a significant IQ drop and is strong evidence that marijuana makes a person less intelligent.
Ok, so what if a person isn't a heavy user? They obviously won't experience as massive an IQ drop. This is true. But for permanent cognitive damage to happen over a long period of time, that would mean that each time a person smoked, that person was damaging their brain just a little bit. And then if they didn't allow their brain to heal from the damage that THC caused, then smoked some more, their brain is just a little more damaged and so it goes on and on.
Think about it. If a person smokes pot, they become less intelligent. They aren't as sharp, they miss obvious things, etc. We have all seen it in action. Some of us have experienced it for ourselves. If a person becomes less alert, when they smoke it once, prolonged use has to have a longer lasting effect.
You've heard it before. Over and over again. Marijuana is a gateway drug. A gateway to the harder drugs, like cocaine and heroin, etc. The argument against this concept is that a drug is a drug, the law sees all the different drugs as pretty much the same thing as far a s punishment goes, so marijuana, being lumped in with the other drugs will be taken right alongside the rest of them. And if a person is the kind of person who will try marijuana in the first place, that person is more likely to try cocaine with just the same amount of hesitation (not much).
Whether marijuana is a gateway drug is a matter of great debate in this country. Both sides have valid arguments. If a person takes the plunge and decides they are going to try and illegal drug, it is most likely going to be marijuana first. Marijuana is easier to come by and has less harmful effects than the harder drugs. In fact it can seem milder than alcohol. If that experience was OK and the person didn't have a bad experience beyond the side effects every drug has, it seems fairly rational to assume that the person is more likely to try it again. And if that becomes a habit for that person, it falls within reason that person might be more likely to try prescription drugs without a prescription and so on and up to the hard drugs. Does a heroin addict go right to the heroin or do they usually start with pot?
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